Philadelphia 76ers: No Justise for the Miami Heat in Game 3

(Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
(Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images) /

In Joel Embiid’s triumphant return to the court, the Philadelphia 76ers pulled out a win on enemy territory over Justise Winslow and the Miami Heat.

Philadelphia 76ers fans, I have to be honest with you, I messed up on this one.

Mere hours before the team’s Game 3 showdown against the Miami, I published an article wishing Joel Embiid a quick return to the court after being doubtful to play in Miami, but by some sheer stroke of luck, the 76ers’ Cameroonian big man was miraculously upgraded from doubtful to probable, and eventually from probable to a starter.

And just like that, the 76ers are 2-1 going into Game 4.

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I’ll take it.

After struggling to match the Heat’s adjustments going into Game 2, Brett Brown and company unleashed the ultimate trump card in Embiid going into Game 3 in a move that may eventually define this series as a whole.

Masked (and goggled) up and ready for action after almost a month away from the game, the Sixers emotional leader turned in a performance that was vintage Embiid and reminded fans, and foes across the league just how scary this team can be when at full strength.

Leading all players with 23 points, Embiid put in work from all over the court, whether that be hitting three of four from the three-point line, or knocking down 10 free throws and while he did at times struggle with his handle while wearing his safety mask, the paint was once again an enter-at-your-own-risk zone, much to the chagrin of arch-enemy Hassan Whiteside.

But this win wasn’t just the ‘Joel Embiid show’.

No, this was once again a team victory, with six different Sixers scoring at least 10 points, and five different players dishing out at least four assists, and without this unselfishness, we may not be talking about a win going into Game 4. Even deep bench players like Justin Anderson and T.J. McConnell left it all on the court in limited playing time and made Dwayne Wade and company’s life a whole lot harder in front of their hometown crowd.

With all of their old sets finally back in play, the Embiid-Simmons pairing that helped lead the 76ers to 16 straight wins to close out the regular season was back in action and even the dirty play of Justise Winslow and his hard-hitting, glasses stomping self couldn’t hold the duo back from 42 points, 19 rebounds and 11 assists while deep in enemy territory.

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Now straddling a 2-1 lead with at least one more game still to play at the Wells Fargo Center, it’s starting to look like the 76ers may pull this series out after all.